Martin and Trina Daniel were not vaccinated and both died of COVID-19 in July when their family caught the virus earlier this summer

martin daniel, trina daniel
Credit: Facebook

A married couple has died of COVID-19 within hours of each other, leaving behind their two children. 

Martin and Trina Daniel, who had been married for over two decades, both died July 6 after their whole family contracted the virus in June, ABC News reports. Martin, 53, died at home while Trina, 49, died later that night after being hospitalized. They were not vaccinated.

Their nephew, Cornelius Daniel, told the outlet that Martin and Trina's symptoms began to show in late June and had "spiraled out of control" by July 4.  

The late couple were parents to son Miles, 18, and Marina, 15, both of whom were also unvaccinated. The teenagers went to the hospital July 7 for treatment and were soon released, but were required to quarantine while grieving their parents. 

Martin and Trina had not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine at the time of their death in part because of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, Cornelius said. The study, which took place from the 1930s through the 1970s, followed syphilis progression in Black men who unknowingly had the disease and never received treatment despite being promised free healthcare. 

"He trusted the vaccines that had been around for awhile," Cornelius explained, but Martin thought the COVID-19 vaccines had been pushed out too soon. 

While Martin felt unsure about it, he and Trina eventually agreed to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and were scheduled to get their shots in mid-July, just a week after the couple died. 

martin daniel, trina daniel
Credit: Go Fund Me

The Daniels first met in the 1990s while attending Savannah State University. Martin later enrolled in Alabama's Tuskegee University for his graduate degree, and the couple settled in Savannah, Georgia, where they raised Miles and Marina and Martin worked as a chemist. 

Reflecting on the deaths of his aunt and uncle, Cornelius said, "We were already taken aback by his passing, but to have to endure the passing of her ... was traumatizing." 

He went on to emphasize the importance of vaccines, urging families to get vaccinated if they haven't already done so.  

​​"The only bullets we have right now in our gun are the vaccines," Cornelius said. "So I would prefer a vaccine over a ventilator every day. Too many families have already experienced the pain that we're feeling."

While Miles and Marina have suffered through the loss of both of their parents, the teens are planning to get vaccinated and are "doing well" and "adjusting to the new normal," Cornelius said.

Miles was dropped off at college by his family last weekend, and Marina is starting off her sophomore year of high school. A GoFundMe for Miles and Marina's college/educational expenses has already raised over $20,000, more than double its $10,000 goal.

The U.S. is currently seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases as the highly transmissible Delta variant rips through the country. While the U.S. reached the 70% vaccination milestone in early August, the Biden administration is expected to announce that vaccinated Americans should receive a COVID-19 booster shot in the fall to protect against more aggressive variants of the virus. 

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDCWHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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